Making Remote Work More Effective with Enterprise Search

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Intelligent enterprise search enables productivity by unifying content platforms into a personalized, AI-powered search experience.

As social distancing continues on, many wonder if our personal and professional lives will soon return to normal?

In mid-March, in a sweeping move to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged companies to issue work-from-home policies for employees. For many Americans, this meant that daily routines and processes had to be reevaluated in a new, at-home setting.

See also: An Exciting Emerging Technology Category: Employee Productivity Analytics

In a recent Gartner webinar snap poll, 91 percent of attending HR leaders indicated they’ve implemented work-from-home arrangements since the outbreak but say the biggest challenge stems from the lack of technology infrastructure and lack of comfort with new ways of working.Saikat Chatterjee, senior director, Advisory at Gartner shared, “We’re being forced into the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, and so far, it hasn’t been easy for a lot of organizations to implement.”

There are plenty of online resources to help workers with this sudden transition if they’re willing to look. For example, productivity experts say that planning the workday the night before can keep workers on task. And, allowing for flexibility in your schedule and having a dedicated workspace in the home can also pay dividends toward being productive when working remotely. But what happens when employees are unable to communicate easily among colleagues? What if they are wasting hours just trying to access enterprise content or are struggling to simply establish a reliable internet connection from their apartment? Being productive is much more than making a good to-do list.

The fact is, organizations that are equipped with tools and technology that drive operational efficiency will be able to more fully support newly remote employees. In the face of these uncharted waters is an opportunity for organizations to take a hard look at how the enterprise can address issues of information access – in both typical and challenging times.

Making productivity a priority

Not only are we concerned with the public health implications of the global pandemic, but since the outbreak began, the financial markets have taken a downward turn. Many businesses and industries are feeling the impact, and have begun taking steps to cut spending and improve the bottom line. Resources are tighter, which means that organizations will emphasize efficiency among employees.

Almost all knowledge-intensive organizations have a digital workplace that includes enterprise search, which connects employees to the content they need to complete a given task. Companies typically either deploy a rudimentary open-source kit that relies on search queries using keywords or a larger ecosystem like Microsoft, Google, or IBM, which tend to exclude content and data stored outside of the ecosystem.

Employees may have been able to piece together what they needed in the past using these types of search tools, but now that the entire organization is working remotely, documents, files, emails and other types of content are being created at an astonishing rate by different people and stored in different locations within the digital workplace. Traditional enterprise search tools aren’t meeting the current demands of organizations.

Now is the time for organizations to think about the way employees access content platforms and how that is impacting employee productivity, knowledge sharing, and competitive advantage.

Intelligent enterprise search enables productivity by unifying content platforms — applications, repositories, SharePoint sites, email systems, network shares, intranets, extranets, websites, databases, etc. — into a personalized, AI-powered search experience. This allows employees to successfully complete projects in less time and in a way that doesn’t hinder other workflows. Enterprise search in the digital workplace provides a central place to look for all files and rich media, making it extremely easy for team members, irrespective of location, to access information from any device quickly.

Secondly, sophisticated enterprise search paves the way for knowledge sharing to reduce redundancy and repetitiveness within an organization. IDC found that Fortune 500 companies lose roughly $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge. For example, anyone that joins the company right now can access information that is otherwise not widely known by other employees within the organization, even when they’re not in the office. Senior managers can share know-how and experiences with others so that the organization can effectively move forward even when he/she leaves or gets sick. With an enterprise search solution in place, your current or future employees can easily access this information and continue working with ease.

Finally, employees that are consistently well-informed provide better service to customers and offer faster turnaround times, which is critical in today’s circumstances. By saving your employees a significant amount of time, they can focus on other value-adds for the company, especially when it’s needed most.

With its ease of deployment, immersive relevance, and intuitive interface, intelligent enterprise search elevates employee performance by presenting actionable and contextual information to inform decisions and increase productivity. We don’t know if or when our working lives will return to their normal circumstances, but we do know that businesses that can carry on, must carry on in the most efficient ways possible. Narrowing in on how employees are spending time is the key to improving productivity and becoming a leaner operation.

Scott Parker

About Scott Parker

Scott Parker is director of Product Marketing at Sinequa. He has a deep history in enterprise software, having served as a software development manager, professional services director, and pre-sales consultant. He began his career as a software engineer and systems analyst with Bloomberg BNA, and also served as senior director at Vivisimo where he spearheaded the company's go-to-market strategy. Scott was a founding member of the IBM Watson Group, where he engaged clients to explore the possibility around amplifying human expertise and alleviating the cognitive burden of knowledge workers. He joined Sinequa in 2017 to help customers understand the real and potential benefits of applying cognitive search & analytics technology to their businesses. Follow @Sinequa on Twitter or visit www.sinequa.com

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